Engineering conglomerate Larsen and Toubro (L&T) has been awarded a contract to supply 100 self-propelled howitzers to the Indian Army for nearly Rs 4,500 crore. The first batch of the 155mm/52 calibre tracked self- propelled (SP) gun — K9 VAJRA-T — will be delivered later this year and the entire supply will be made within next 42 months. L&T, supported by its South Korean technology partner Hanwha Tech Win (HTW), had bid for the contract in 2011.
The contract valued at about at Rs 4,500 crore is the largest order placed by the Defence Ministry (MoD) with an Indian private company, Jayant Patil, Head of Defence and Aerospace at L&T, said. Among the four bidders, L&T emerged as the sole qualified aspirant, after a series of user trials and evaluations, based on the performance of the K9 VAJRA-T self-propelled Howitzer.
The K9 VAJRA-T gun is an enhanced version of HTW’s K9 Thunder – a world class self-propelled howitzer, customised and co-developed by L&T and HTW to suit the specific requirements of the Indian Army. HTW’s K9 Thunder self-propelled howitzer is among the best in the world with over 1,000 units already in service in South Korea and few other countries.
Patil said the award of the contract affirms L&T’s position as India’s leading private sector defence company with capabilities to design, develop and manufacture state- of-the-art platforms and systems for the Indian armed forces. Patil said the contract envisages delivery of the 100 guns in 42 months with associated engineering support package and maintenance throughout their life cycle. The guns will have over 50 per cent indigenous content and will be delivered from L&T’s manufacturing facilities, Patil said. L&T had inked a deal with Hanwha Techwin (HTW) last month to jointly manufacture the self-propelled howitzers for Indian Army.